Coast Guard delays start of formal hearing into Lady Mary sinking

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation is delaying the start of formal hearings for the fishing vessel Lady Mary marine casualty investigation. The hearings are being rescheduled to allow the board time to review evidence they expect to obtain from the use of submersible Remotely Operated Vehicles.

The board is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA and Coast Guard resources from Boston and New York to locate and survey the Lady Mary. The NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson is underway from Norfolk, Va., and will use sonar to attempt to locate the Lady Mary, which sank approximately 60 nautical miles off the coast of Cape May, N.J., March 24.

Once located, Coast Guard teams will use an ROV to conduct an underwater survey of the vessel. The investigation team intends to use the survey results to help identify the condition of the vessel and any contributing factors that lead to the sinking. The ROV does not have recovery capability.

After the survey is complete and results reviewed, the board will announce its intended date to convene the formal hearings. The hearings are a method which allows the board to interview witnesses with direct information related to the sinking of the vessel and officially convey that information to the Coast Guard investigators.

The board consists of three Coast Guard officers led by Cmdr. Kyle McAvoy, who is proceeding under the authority of the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security, and Stewardship, in Washington, D.C.

Brian Curtis from The National Transportation Safety Board is assisting with the investigative board. The board’s purpose is to thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances relating to the sinking of the vessel and develop conclusions and recommendations to improve the safety and operation of similar vessels.

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